Self-Powered Wind Sensor System for Detecting Wind Speed and Direction Based on a Triboelectric Nanogenerator


The development of the Internet of Things has brought new challenges to the corresponding distributed sensor systems. Self-powered sensors that can perceive and respond to environmental stimuli without an external power supply are highly desirable. In this paper, a self-powered wind sensor system based on an anemometer triboelectric nanogenerator (a-TENG, free-standing mode) and a wind vane triboelectric nanogenerator (v-TENG, single-electrode mode) is proposed for simultaneously detecting wind speed and direction. A soft friction mode is adopted instead of a typical rigid friction for largely enhancing the output performance of the TENG. The design parameters including size, unit central angle, and applied materials are optimized to enhance sensitivity, resolution, and wide measurement scale. The optimized a-TENG could deliver an open-circuit voltage of 88 V and short-circuit current of 6.3 mu A, corresponding to a maximum power output of 0.47 mW (wind speed of 6.0 m/s), which is capable of driving electronics for data transmission and storage. The current peak value of the a-TENG signal is used for analyzing wind speed for less energy consumption. Moreover, the output characteristics of a v-TENG are further explored, with six actual operation situations, and the v-TENG delivers fast response to the incoming wind and accurately outputs the wind direction data. As a wind sensor system, wind speed ranging from 2.7 to 8.0 m/s can be well detected (consistent with a commercial sensor) and eight regular directions can be monitored. Therefore, the fabricated wind sensor system has great potential in wireless environmental monitoring applications.